When it comes to safety, your brakes are arguably the most important feature in your car. So, when you hear them start to squeal, it's natural that you might feel a bit of panic. However, that noise, annoying as it may be, can have many of causes, and not all of them pose a threat to your vehicle.

When your brakes start to squeal, you need to know how to respond. That's why our team at Richmond Ford Lincoln put together this list of common causes and cures for your squeaking brakes. The more you know, the more repairs you can save yourself down the line. 

Identifying the Squeal

There's a wide range of minor issues that can make your brakes squeal. Here are the four most common:

  • Rust: If your brakes are noisier in the morning, then moisture may be the culprit. Brake rotors will rust quickly overnight, either from rain, dew, or other moistures. Pumping your brakes within the first couple miles of your drive should make that rust flake off completely.
  • Your brakes are dry: Rear drum brakes have contact points that can dry out over time. When this happens, your brakes will start to squeak. Extra lubrication is a simple cure for this problem.
  • Hard brake pads: Some brake pads, particularly cheaper ones, are made with a higher metal content. When these pads scrape against the other components of your brakes, it can cause that annoying squeal. If this is the case, you shouldn't worry-the extra metal won't harm your vehicle. Though next time you may want to save yourself a headache and invest in higher quality pads.
  • Your brake pads are worn: Every vehicle has a brake wear indicator that's designed to alert drivers when brake pads need to be replaced. If your vehicle is emitting a continuous squeal that tends to go away when you step on the brakes, then the noise is likely just your wear indicator. 

Replacing Brake Pads

Often, that squeal you hear coming from your vehicle is going to be caused by your brake pads. You can avoid it all together if you understand the lifespan of the average pad. Front pads generally need to be changed every 30,000 miles. Rear pads take less wear and can last up to twice as long. Keep track of your service records to catch brake pad wear before it gets bad. 

How Long Do Brake Pads Last?

There are a few simple ways that drivers can extend the life of their brake pads. First and foremost, always avoid hard braking if possible. This can cause damage not only to the pads, but the braking mechanism, as well. If you mainly stick to highway driving, your pads will incur less erosion and last longer. And if you have them visually inspected every time your tires are rotated, you can better keep track of how much longer they'll last.

When the time comes, make sure you're choosing the right brake pads. Regular pads vary greatly in terms of quality and materials. Semi-metallic pads are typically the most common, but drivers can also choose ceramic brake pads. Ceramics are quieter and longer lasting, but are more expensive and can absorb less heat. Long-life brake pads are also an option, but be warned: they're known to emit squealing noises throughout their entire lifespan. 

Schedule Brake Service near Richmond Today

Brakes perform a function that's critical to your vehicle and your own safety. Never neglect to have them inspected. Ask your mechanic to check your brakes with every oil change, or bring them in for service every ten thousand miles. If they begin to squeal, be sure to bring your vehicle in for service right away. Even if the problem is benign, it's much better to be safe than sorry.

If you're in the Richmond, Mechanicsville, or Ashland area and your brakes are squealing, you can contact Richmond Ford Lincoln to schedule a service appointment today.


Richmond Ford Lincoln

4600 West Broad Street
Directions Richmond, VA 23230

  • Sales: (804) 474-0531
  • Service: (804) 474-0572
  • Parts: (804) 254-9290


  • Monday 9am-8pm
  • Tuesday 9am-8pm
  • Wednesday 9am-8pm
  • Thursday 9am-8pm
  • Friday 9am-8pm
  • Saturday 9am-6pm
  • Sunday Closed

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